Tampa spared the worst of Irma

While Hurricane Irma didn't pack the punch that was first feared, Blake students still had an unexpected seven day vacation.



Hurricane Irma as it roars over Cuba on it's approach to Florida.

Hurricane Irma was a category 5 hurricane consisting of 185 mph winds when it started battering the Caribbean islands. Everyone in Florida really took notice as the entire state became a part of the forecast cone. In Tampa, people were frightened and confused as Irma crept it’s way up the coast. Some people stood by their homes and boarded up the windows and hoped for the best, while others completely fled the state. The students of Blake had many different experiences with Hurricane Irma. Many had now power for days and fallen tress along with other debris while other students had no issues.

Getting supplies was a big issue. Shelves were empty, store employees were stressed, and Floridians were supply hungry. Student Bianca Walker helped her family prepare by shopping for supplies, and said, “It was crazy….there were a lot of people and a lot of attitudes. Shelves were cleared out and people were not too happy about it. If you got supplies you were lucky.”

A Tampa area student had a tree fall on her pool screen due to Irma’s winds.

When it came time for Irma to make it’s move towards Florida many were scared. Freshman Stanley Guadamuz said, “My family was freaking out the whole time but nothing major happened. A few trees fell down and that’s it.” Many others claimed they had little to no damage, but there were some who felt the affects of Irma’s winds. Max Silver claims that fence planks flew off and lots of trees fell down, including his avocado tree, which led to many avocados being displaced and lots of work to be done when the storm was over. “I had to put the planks back myself and pick up the avocados!” vents Max. The repairs were a pain, but he was still able to find a positive. About 5 hours after the hurricane hit he went kayaking, and said that Irma gave good winds to the river allowing a fun kayak trip.

Although Irma devastated parts of Florida and much of the Caribbean, the Tampa area got extremely lucky for the most part.

But with widespread power outages came a week long break for students. Most students spent their break with “lots of sleep” and “lots of video games”. Tavien Woods went to North Carolina to escape Irma, and with the extended break he was able to stay longer than originally planned. He described his evacuation as “a little vacation” allowing him to see a bit of North Carolina.

Although Irma was a devastating storm, it left students with a break and recovery time. Areas in and around Tampa have power restored and life is pretty much back to normal. Other areas still face a long road ahead to restore a normal quality of life. Even though Tampa was spared from major destruction, one look at the islands in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys shows people how important it is to be prepared.